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A Clos du Mont-Olivet Vertical: 2017 Cotes du Rhone back to 2005 La Cuvee du Papet

November 9, 2019 Leave a comment

I was a guest at the most recent blind tasting held by Phil’s tasting group.  Of the eight wines we tasted blind, one was a stinker, so we were left with seven bottles to deduce the theme.  Two of the wines, #5 and #8, were clearly Chateauneuf du Pape but the firmness of the younger vintages and stylistic difference of the ringer through me for a loop.  I will fess up that I had recently drunk wine #2 but I was still stumped.  In retrospect, the theme of Clos du Mont-Olivet can be appreciated.

The Sabon family have been making wine at Clos du Mont-Olivet since 1932 with the estate now run by Thierry  Sabon.  The tasting featured one vintage of Cotes du Rhone Vieilles Vignes, one vintage of Châteaneuf du Pape, and five vintages of Châteauneuf du Pape La Cuvee du Papet.  The Cotes du Rhone Vieilles Vignes we tried is a typical blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 10% Carignan mostly sourced from vineyards planted in 1950.  The fruit is partially destemmed then fermented with indigenous yeasts in cement tanks followed by aging in used foudre, demi-muids, and tanks.  The Châteaneuf du Pape is a typical blend of 80% Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault rounding things out.  The fruit is partially destemmed then fermented with indigenous yeasts in cement tanks.  It is aged in in foudre.  The top wine of the estate is La Cuvee du Papet which is only made in the best vintages.  It is a typical blend of 75% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, and 10% Syrah sources from multiple parcels.  The vines range in age from 30 to 100+ years of age since the oldest parcel of Grenache was planted in 1901.  The fruit is partially destemmed then fermented with indigenous yeasts in cement tanks followed by aging in used foudre and demi-muids.

The 2017 Clos du Mont-Olivet, Vieilles Vignes, Cotes du Rhone is an excellent follow-on to the 2016 vintage.  It is, however, a wine which needs time to develop and should drink well for a few years.  The best wine to drink now and one of my favorites of the tasting is the awesome 2005 Clos du Mont-Olivet, La Cuvee du Papet, Châteauneuf du Pape.  Even better is the 2010 Clos du Mont-Olivet, La Cuvee du Papet, Châteauneuf du Pape.  This superlative pair offers a wine that has just hit its mature phase, the 2005, and a wine shedding its youth, the 2010.  I went back to these bottles multiple times simply to drink them.  I recommend you buy some so you can as well!  Worth cellaring, is the very young yet outstanding 2016 Clos du Mont-Olivet, La Cuvee du Papet, Châteauneuf du Pape.  It has all the components for developing but is still firm.  I’d give it several years of age at which point it should be obvious if it is as great as the 2010.  Many thanks to Phil for hosting such an excellent tasting.

Blind #1 – 2017 Clos du Mont-Olivet, Vieilles Vignes, Cotes du Rhone –
Imported by Dionysos Imports. Alcohol 14.5%.  Grapey scents on the nose.  A young wine in the mouth with flavors of black and purple fruit with fine, dry and bitter structure in the end.  With air it rounds and balances out.  The ripe fruit has a touch of sweetness from a vanilla component.  The flavors of blueberries and violets is carried by watering acidity.  This is a mid-term ager that should significantly improve over the winter.  *** Now – 2027.

Blind #2 – 2016 Clos du Mont-Olivet, Châteauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Dionysos Imports. Alcohol 15%.  A good nose of red fruits.  In this mouth this is a big wine with a spine of acidity.  With air it opens up a touch offering creamy flavors of violets, black fruit, and a little wood box.  With good depth it becomes firm in the end as a spicy structure comes out.  It should be cellared.  This bottle is tighter than a previous bottle I tried.  ***(*) 2023- 2034.

Blind #3 – 2016 Clos du Mont-Olivet, La Cuvee du Papet, Châteauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Dionysos Imports. Alcohol 15%.  An aromatic nose of blue fruits.  In the mouth this is a big wine with fine, strong tannins, and a powerful wave of flavor through the finish.  Like the regular CdP, this is closely packed and in need of age.  With air the wine has all of the components clearly focused for development.  It is savory, intense, and even a little spicy.  ****(*) 2024- 2039.

Blind #4 – 2015 Clos du Mont-Olivet, La Cuvee du Papet, Châteauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Dionysos Imports. Alcohol 15%.  A deeper, meaty nose.  A watering start then the wine falls flat, compared to other vintages, offering vintage perfume notes, wood box, and baking spice.  There are ample, fine and dry tannins.  With air it improves to be lush yet not voluptuous with a deep, dry finish.  The structure remains prominent compared to the fruit weight.  A good wine in all respects but clearly overshadowed by the 2016. For the mid-term. ***(*) Now – 2029.

Blind #5 – 2010 Clos du Mont-Olivet, La Cuvee du Papet, Châteauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Dionysos Imports. Alcohol 15%.  Saline and dense, this wine packs in tons of flavors right through the powerful end.  though powerful, it keeps focused with creamy bits, luxurious fat, and wood box maturity.  It is still so young but is clearly a great wine.  Unlike the outstanding 2005, this has the intensity of youth which hits the throat with a dose of fruity raspberries.  ***** Now – 2034.

Blind #6 – 2010 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, Châteauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  Polished on the nose.  In the mouth it is a little saline, dry and tart with red, citric fruit.  It has fine focus for the long-haul with polished wood tannins.  With air there is a subtle, lifted hint of fat, wood box, and a killer finish.  This wine will be slow to develop.  **** 2023-2039.

Blind #7 – 2006 Clos du Mont-Olivet, La Cuvee du Papet, Châteauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Dionysos Imports. Alcohol 14%.  A stinker, smells like air make it through the cork.  Can’t stand it.  Not Rated.

Blind #8 – 2005 Clos du Mont-Olivet, La Cuvee du Papet, Châteauneuf du Pape –
Imported by Dionysos Imports. Alcohol 14%.  Taking on some garnet in the glass.  A good nose.  The ripe fruit and fine wood box notes are clearly part of a more complex Southern Rhone wine.  It lovely with young power that comes through.  Fat and weighty flavors drape on the tongue with a sweet middle.  This is a Chateauneuf du Pape with tons of future potential but you can enjoy it now became it has some bottle age flavor and concentrating ripeness.  ****(*) Now – 2034.

An Additional Blind Wine – 1998 Domaine Bois De Boursane, Châteauneuf du Pape –
Alcohol 13.5%.  Some umami mixing with red fruit and watering acidity into the salty, firm finish.  There is good flavor for drinking right now.  If you decant drink quickly.  *** Now.

Seriously good: 2017 J.L. Chave Selection, Mon Coeur, Cotes du Rhone

November 2, 2019 Leave a comment

Cotes du Rhone prices seem to be ticking up this fall (independent of new tariffs).  If I must spend more on a daily-drinker then I want something serious.  The 2017 J.L. Chave Selection, Mon Coeur, Cotes du Rhone fits the bill.  Ultimately recommend by a fellow wine friend, this is ideal Cotes du Rhone: it drinks well right now and will continue to do so for years to come as it gains bottle age complexity.  I have already gone through several bottles myself!  Though not in one sitting.

2017 J.L. Chave Selection, Mon Coeur, Cotes du Rhone – $18 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by Erin Cannon Selections.  This wine is a blend of Syrah and Grenache sourced from vines both in and around Chateauneuf du Pape.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Earth notes with some sweet wood box.  A structured wine with wood tannins which frame fresh and juicy fruit flavors.  Firm flavors of black cherry start then a red fruit component gets lift from the the tart acidity.  Though attractive now, with easy-going generous fruit, these flavors are balanced by structural components which will support further age.  ***(*) Now – 2029.

The Mouth-Filling 2018 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone

September 19, 2019 Leave a comment

Saint Cosme is the negociant label distinct from Château de Saint Cosme.  Do not hesitate to try the 2018 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone  for the quality of the fruit purchased from Vinsobres and Villafranchian is excellent.  The wine is somewhat unique as it is pure Syrah fermented with indigenous yeasts then raised in cement vats.  This is a wine to drink young in its grapey state but it absolutely requires several hours of air to show best.  An outstanding value for $13 at MacArthur Beverages.

2018 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone – $13 at MacArthur Beverages
Imported by by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Syrah fermented and aged in cement vat.  Alcohol 14.5%.  Young, rounded berry fruit on the nose.  This is a grapey, rather young berry-fruited wine highlighted by juicy acidity.  With several hours of air, your impression will change as it reveals some serious concentration.  The fruit fills the mouth with a spicy, savory hint before the graphite and fat infused finish.  *** Now – 2021.

For the table: 2016 La Janasse, Cotes du Rhone

The 2016 Domaine de la Janasse, Cotes du Rhone is a wine you can purchase by the case to drink over the next several years.  It has some youthfulness right now but there is enough density to the fruit that when coupled with quality acidity and structure, will see it evolve across several years.  I purchased this bottle at MacArthur Beverages.

Janasse1

2016 Domaine de la Janasse, Cotes du Rhone – $15
Imported by MacArthur Liquors. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan, Syrah, and Cinsault that was aged 6 to 9 months in vat.  Alcohol 13.5%.  Youthful and clean with a bit of dense, black fruit.  Watering acidity and supportive structure will see this wine through the next several years.  It finishes with baking spices and a little cocoa.  A good value.  **(*) Now – 2024.

Janasse2

A fistful of Grenache – 2016 Domaine Gramenon, Poignee de Raisins

A long-time favorite, the latest vintage of 2016 Domaine Gramenon, Poignee de Raisins, Cotes du Rhone is a wine to grab for sheer enjoyment.  It is not a Cotes du Rhone for aging, rather one full of grapey flavor and depth best enjoyed now.  I find that the juicy personality is a match for the textured mouth feel.  It is available on the shelves at MacArthur Beverages.  Grab a few bottles and pull a cork as soon as you get home.

2016 Domaine Gramenon, Poignee de Raisins, Cotes du Rhone – ~$22
Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from young vines.  It was fermented in concrete then aged 12 months in used barriques.  Alcohol 13.5%. Round and grapey with extract textured fruit. There are flavors of strawberry but soon blue fruit and baking spices come out. This is a juicy wine with a bright tilt. There is presence in spades. The savory vein of fruit is youthful and the structure leaves ripe tannins on the gums. The long aftertaste is of ethereal ripe fruit and minerals. **** Now – 2020.

2016 Stephane Ogier, Les Temps Est Venu, Cotes du Rhone

The 2016 Stephane Ogier, Les Temps Est Venu, Cotes du Rhone is the latest, tasty vintage of this wine made primarily from Plan de Dieu fruit.  It follows in the tradition of 2015 by offering up plenty of forward, nearly full-bodied flavor.  The first bottle I opened was drunk in a group setting so I did not have more than a glass.  I found it forward and a bit soft.  With the second bottle, I followed it to the end and like the 2015, it becomes balanced with air.  The structure and acidity provide the needed framework.  It has good complexity now so in short, buy, buy, buy!  You may find it at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Stephane Ogier, Les Temps Est Venu, Cotes du Rhone – $16
Imported by Robert Kacher.  This wine is a blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah, Mourvedre, and a dollop of Cinsault. The fruit is largely sourced from Plan de Dieu, fermented in concrete vats where it is also aged for 12 months.  Alcohol 14%. Forward and soft at first then with air the wine oscillates until the tangy start then builds form by the finish.  This medium to full-bodied wine has flavors of red and blue fruits that tighten up to good effect with support from a modest structure.  Notes of garrigue and Southern Rhone warmth add complexity.  *** Now – 2021.

A trio of Cotes du Rhone

Cotes du Rhone upon release is fun but it  also is with a few years of age.  The 2012 Domaine Alary, L’Estevenas, Cairanne  is still bright and lively but there are pleasingly mature flavors to be enjoyed right now.  Pure, grapey, and deep-fruited the 2015 Domaine Charvin, Le Poutet, Cotes du Rhone offers a good level of intensity.   The 2015 Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Plan de Dieu is another must-try wine.  I have recommended the wines of Plan de Dieu before.  If you still haven’t tried one then grab this bottle!  The Charvin was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.  The Alary and Saint-Damien were purchased at Weygandt-Wines.

2012 Domaine Alary, L’Estevenas, Cairanne – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is a blend of Grenache and Syrah.  Alcohol 14%. Black fruit on the nose. This is a bright wine of mulberry flavors which still sports grip. There is watering acidity, a mixture of grip and garrigue, and hints of structure in the end. Notes of maturity do come out but the wine is still lively at the start. *** Now – 2023.

2015 Domaine Charvin, Le Poutet, Cotes du Rhone – $20
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is a blend of 81% Grenache, 7% Mourvedre, 7% Syrah, and 5% Carignan.  Alcohol 14%. This is a pure, grapey and deep fruited wine very much in the Charvin style. The middle is perfumed and mineral, eventually take on floral notes. There is just a touch of heat giving away the vintage. *** Now – 2023.

 

2015 Saint-Damien, Vieilles Vignes, Plan de Dieu – $17
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14.5%. Kirsch on the nose. There is a bright, clean start which soon builds midpalate depth to the red fruit. There are additional flavors of dense black fruit and minerals by the end. There are tons of flavor to which bramble and red meat add complexity. This enjoyable in this youthful, modestly structured state. *** Now – 2025.